After enjoying their day off yesterday, including hosting the annual Curveball Gala, the Blue Jays welcome the Reds into town to open a three game weekend series. Tonight’s game is set for a 7:07 ET start.
Blue Jays’ Starter
Hyun Jin Ryu gets the ball tonight, making his second start since missing a few weeks on the IL. His first start back was easily his best of his three total this year, as he went a season high 4.2 innings, allowing just 1 run on 4 hits and a walk, striking out 3. His velocity was strong throughout, and he seemed to be healthy and able to dominate. The Jays need him to be that pitcher going forward, not the one from his first couple starts that struggled to reach 90 mph and got shelled.
The Reds will send their 2021 opening day starter Luis Castillo to the mound. After another strong season last year in which he threw 33 starts and pitched to a 3.98 ERA, Castillo opened this one on the IL with some problems in his shoulder. He missed about 4 weeks to open the season this year, but has since come back to make two starts, and should be pretty much fully stretched out.
His numbers so far aren’t great, with some pretty notable omissions. Through 9.2 innings thus far, he has just 7 strikeouts against 4 walks. For his career, his average strikeout rate is 9.75 per 9 innings, so he hasn’t been getting the swings and misses he’s used to so far, especially with his changeup. He has also been about 2 mph slower on his fastball so far, which is likely concerning some people in Reds’ land.
Blue Jays’ Lineup
Raimel Tapia is the only one who has any experience against Castillo, and he has done fairly well. In 8 AB, Tapia has 5 hits, including a home run. Montoyo isn’t generally one to look at small samples in head to head matchups and make lineup decisions, but don’t be surprised to see Tapia in the lineup tonight.
Danny Jansen will be behind the plate catching Ryu. If Tapia finds his way into the lineup, it’ll probably be at the expense of Alejandro Kirk. But Kirk has been hitting quite well in May, .292/.352/.438 (128 wRC+) with as many walks as strikeouts (5). So it would be tough to keep that bat out of the lineup.
The Blue Jays’ outfielders have certainly been struggling in May, with the group hitting a combined .165/.221/.230 (30 wRC+) with just 2 home runs from the group. It’s still a bit baffling how they haven’t tried to upgrade on Tapia and especially Zimmer, but the trio of Teo, Springer and Gurriel struggling is the real story. With those three not hitting, the lineup is missing a beginning, middle and end, which makes scoring runs very hard.
They started out on an abysmal run, but have since gone 8-4 after finally winning their 4th game. As a team they’re hitting .219/.294/.351 (82 wRC+), but have turned it up to a 116 wRC+ over the last 2 weeks.
The grouping of Tyler Stephenson (158 wRC+), Brandon Drury (133), Tyler Naquin (122), Tommy Pham (110) and Mike Moustakas (106) have really helped carry the offense, especially over the last couple weeks. Drury is the team leader with 7 home runs and 22 RBI.
Joey Votto is expected to be activated from his trip to the IL just in time for this trip home for him. It’ll be his first series in Toronto since 2017.
The Reds are missing a few other notable names who are currently on the IL right now, including last year’s Rookie of the Year Jonathan India, as well as Nick Senzel, Max Schrock, Jose Barrero and Donovan Solano.
Trevor Story went 4-4 with 3 home runs, a single and a walk, scoring all 5 times while driving in 7 runs to easily take home the Monster Bat award. His breakout night helped his Red Sox double up the Mariners 12-6.
Pete Alonso hit a leadoff 2-run home run in the bottom of the 10th, giving his Mets the 7-6 walkoff win over the Cardinals. Alonso gets the WPA King for his efforts, with a .663 WPA on the day.
Yu Darvish threw 7 shutout innings, allowing 6 hits and nothing else while striking out 5, earning himself the Pitcher of the Day award. He also got the win as his Padres beat the Phillies 2-0.
Find the Link
Find the link between Joey Votto and Russell Martin, but not Tyler O’Neill or Larry Walker.